Martha has run away from an abusive hippie-like cult where she was living as Marcy May for two years. She turns to her sister and brother-in-law who take her in and want to help her. The problem is Martha is having a hard time separating dreams from reality and when haunting memories of her past keep resurfacing, she may need more help than anyone is able to give her.Written by
Beautiful cinematography and interesting performances by the supporting cast of this Sundance award winner make it worth a couple of hours of your time.
Elizabeth Olsen is surprisingly dour and convincing as the main character - Martha/Marcy May/Marlene Lewis. When I read that she was the sister of the Olsen twins I wasn't sure what to expect - but she displayed none of the saccharine characteristics of Mary Kate and Ashley. She is striking-looking - perhaps this is enhanced by the beautiful cinematography of this movie. John Hawkes, as Patrick, the leader of the cult family, is great. Creepy and bizarre - he makes you cringe but you can't take your eyes off him. Louisa Krause, who played the freaked-out high school prostitute in The Babysitters, is also fun to watch as Zoe, the seeming Godsend of a friend to Martha/Marcy May in the cult family, but who is actually just as creepy as Patrick. The discomfort that Martha brings to Lucy and Ted (Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy) - the real-family sister and brother-in-law - is palpable, even if it is what makes the story kind of a bummer overall. The dense forests, fertile farmland, and beautiful lake are characters themselves. Martha's connection with them brings her otherwise ethereal (or maybe just spaced out or tweaked-by-something unknown) character to earth - for me it made her someone I could like and feel sympathy for, even when her relationship with Patrick and Zoe inspired not much.
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